Annual Report 2022/Story: Next steps for our advocacy work in Brussels
In this story, we focus on the establishment of the Wikimedia Europe regional hub. Wikimedia Europe will, among other things, contribute to the Wikimedia movement's capacity to inform decision-makers about how various legislative proposals may affect the Wikimedia platforms and the activities that take place in Europe. Wikimedia Sverige is taking an active part in this work.
In 2022, the organization Wikimedia Europe was established in Brussels, with Wikimedia Sverige among its founding organizations. Wikimedia Europe is supposed to develop into a so-called regional hub within the Wikimedia movement and coordinate the work in some parts of Europe. During the year, 24 Wikimedia organizations joined as formal members of Wikimedia Europe. Thanks to Wikimedia Deutschland, a couple of larger external grants were secured, which have covered the initial work.
The work with the thematic hub is making Wikimedia Sverige's work more visible internationally, which means that having an eye on what's happening in the world is becoming more and more important. There's also a need to coordinate the work in our thematic hub for content partnerships with the different regional hubs, something that our membership in Wikimedia Europe makes easier while also giving us a voice at the table.
The main focus of Wikimedia Europe are political advocacy work in Brussels and coordinating with the national Wikimedia organizations around the implementations in national legislation that will become relevant later. That's a direct continuation of the work that's been done in the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU in the recent year, something that Wikimedia Sverige has contributed to with both staff and financing.
According to the plans, Wikimedia Europe is also going to work on contributing to the processes of applying for EU funds in various ways, as well as on knowledge exchange. Exactly what's going to be done in these two areas, how priorities are going to be set and so on, is still at an early stage of discussion.
At a meeting in Brussels on May 12, executive directors of European Wikimedia associations met with representatives of the Wikimedia Foundation to discuss how advocacy work in Europe can be coordinated. An agreement was reached that the Wikimedia Foundation will pay for one more full-time position for advocacy work in Brussels. This means that three employees are going to work there. This decision was an important step towards local decision-making in the Wikimedia movement, as instead of building parallel structures, the work will be coordinated and led at a regional level – although certain political issues are of course of greater relevance to the Wikimedia Foundation than to local Wikimedia associations.